The Policy and Organizing departments of CRS collaborate to overcome the barriers of poverty and racism through congregational organizing, policy analysis, and direct lobbying. We are well positioned to create unique coordinated campaigns that are both grassroots and policy-driven. Our approach to community organizing and public policy advocacy is issue-focused, relationship-based, power-driven, and change-motivated, encompassing four aspects of work:
- Identifying issues through listening to those who are oppressed by racial and economic injustice;
- Building relationships with congregational members, community residents and persons who have criminal records;
- Organizing campaigns focused on unjust policies and practices;
- Generating power to make systemic change.
Our Organizing Department networks congregations to overcome the barriers of poverty and racism. For decades, activists in member congregations have come together across racial, ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic lines to shape public policies that foster hope and create opportunity for all Illinois residents. The Organizing Staff works to provide organizing and advocacy training, mentoring and guidance, information and materials. A leadership council representing members makes decisions about the legislation and campaigns to be implemented over the course of the year.
Our Policy Department works with our congregational leaders and Issue Team members, community coalitions, and elected officials in state and county legislative bodies to develop and pass legislation that advances justice, primarily in the areas of economic justice, criminal justice, and tax reform. The Policy Department also provides training and current political context for our member congregations as they carry out their responsibilities as citizens and persons of faith. Policy Staff research legislative solutions to community problems, work with leaders and coalition partners to build legislative strategy, and maintain an active presence in Springfield, Cook County and Chicago to advance Community Renewal Society’s legislative priorities.